I need a knee replacement and am now in the process of choosing a surgeon. I'm not on Medicare yet, so I have to stay withing my insurance provider's network here in Mpls, MN.

How do I find data on a surgeons' performance?

I did post for recommendations on and got many replies but only 1 responder came back with useful info, like: their surgeon has the lowest post-op complication rate of the network. Is there a way I can find this and other relevant info on specific surgeons? People are only posting things like "warm and compassionate", "good listener", which are important but you can still be a less-than-stelllar surgeon regarding outcomes. Or, am I being unrealistic about what I can find out?

Thanks for any input you can provide!

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I asked around my old timers (30+) hockey league, particularly the refs, who are often retired players. So many torn ACLs, torn menisci, broken patellas, clean-outs and replacements, young and old. I now have a surgeon but haven’t had the replacement yet.

My husband has these conversations with people who swim where he does. He also has them at the senior center where we exercise. We find certain names keep popping up and often that gets validation from Next Door Neighbor. If you have any other outlets I suggest asking around. We mostly ask seniors.

Thanks, Alva! The ortho docs here have not been forthcoming about who they'd choose. I always ask what they would do in my situation and I believe they give me an honest answer (they know I'm familiar with med-tech by the questions I ask and how I ask them). But none of them have ever named a name as a recommendation. They all say, "They're all good." And, I hesitate getting a recommendation from anyone who hasn't actually had the surgery (which has been none of the ortho docs I've seen to date).

I would also consider a robotics surgery (I worked on a robotic device project for hysterectomy so am familiar with how it works, just need a recommendatiion from someone who's actually had it). Zimmer makes one for knee replacement and I have a relative who is high up in that company. My provider offers this option and it is as, or more, accurate than a direct human surgeon (meaning a human surgeon is still directing the surgery but through a control panel and the robot is doing the labor as directed).


Start by leveling with your own MD. Tell him you need the name of the BEST. Tell him you aren't interested in bedside manner but want the BEST surgeon. Tell him you want the one he would send his wife to. Hard stare him and let him know you MEAN this.

Warm and compassionate is great, and he/she would likely be responsive for after care. means nothing about how good a surgeon is.

When I had breast cancer I was an RN. I KNEW the surgeons, and I always tease that I chose the worst guy bedside- manner-wise on the table. BAD! Geaton, he was SO rude that once, after surgery in an office meet with him. I was complaining about something; he replied "What are you complaining about; it was only a lump of fat we removed".

I chose him because I knew his work, and he was THE BEST.

I wish I could give you something here. I will tell you that I would be danged tempted to go to the ortho floor, . Go to nurse station and ask the first responsive RN (as tho you are there visiting someone) if you could speak privately with her a second, sit down and say "Who's your best knee guy; I am slated for surgery".

Nurses are not "supposed to" talk about doctors, could get sued for saying one was incompetent. But as a nurse I always answered people, and I WAS queried. What I said was "Dr. E. is the one I chose for my own surgery. Don't expect bedside manner; he is rude as the dickens. But imho he's the best and that's why I chose him." If someone asked me about a specific guy I knew I didn't like I said "You know (shrug, wandering eyes like what -can-I-say) allllllll our docs are pretty good (no eye contact). We aren't supposed to talk about them tho (shrug)" There are ways to say things. No one was clueless. They would always come back with "Well, who would YOU use" and then I could say "Well, personally I guess I would use...............".

Good luck. You're wise to start this and do it early. It may be real unlikely you get a solid answer, but I am bold and I love sleuthing. And I would try it. It may come to no fruition, but it's worth a try.

Some hospitals, since lockdown, don't allow folks to wander in. You have to say who you are visiting. Some do not. If you need visitor pass say you are meeting RN Jan in the cafeteria. Again, worth a try.

I hope someone has a better idea, because any statistics before the medical board just don't mean much. GOOD luck with your research as you are ALREADY trying some creative stuff. PM those on Nextdoor and ask them if they are aware how good a SURGEON he is as you aren't after a friend here, but an excellent doc.

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